Ending Single Stroke Four On A Kick

Varying the orchestration of a single stroke 4 to create some complex sounding fills.

In this fill idea you will be orchestrating a Single Stroke Four so that the final note is played on a foot rather than a hand. This creates a very commonly used, great sounding fill. Before working through these fills I recommend covering both our Level 1 Hand Independence and Level 2 Hand Independence exercises.

The lesson is presented in a 'step by step' layout where you will start with some slower quaver versions of the pattern that build up to the full 16th note versions. To get an idea of what you're working towards, jump down to the final couple of exercises.

Step 1

To demonstrate the basic idea of the pattern you will start by playing a single stroke four as a group of eighth note triplets followed by a quarter note. The triplets will be on the hands and the quarter note on a kick. That looks like this:

Step 1

Spend some time playing this pattern ensuring the kick placement is accurate. Use the Two Minute Rule to get the pattern to a tempo of at least 160bpm. I have suggested a high tempo here to prepare you for the faster version you'll be playing later on.

Step 2

When you are comfortable with the initial pattern try some simple orchestrations. Ideas for orchestrating the pattern are listed below.

Step 2 – Orchestration 1

Step 2 Example 1

Step 2 – Orchestration 2

Step 2 Example 2

Step 2 – Orchestration 3

This is the half speed version of the final fill you are working towards.

Step 2 Example 3

Step 3

Next, double all note values from the exercise in step 1. That would look like this:

Example 3

Spend some time playing this pattern ensuring the kick placement is accurate. Again, use the Two Minute Rule to get the pattern to a tempo of at least 120bpm.

Step 4

Orchestrate this pattern to help familiarize yourself with the way it moves. The kick placement is incredibly important.

Step 4 – Orchestration 1

Step 4 Example 1

Step 4 – Orchestration 2

Step 4 Example 2

Step 4 – Orchestration 3

Step 4 Example 3


  1. Using the 2 minute rule, get the final orchestration pattern up to a tempo of at least 130bpm.
  2. Play a four bar pattern that consists of three bars of grooves followed by the final orchestration above.

Listed below are several four bar patterns that incorporate the fills covered above. Some notes are included with each example to help you understand what is going on in each example.

Example 1

The easiest way to apply this pattern is just as a one beat fill, best placed at the end of the bar.

An Example Piece

Example 2

The pattern can be orchestrated in various ways. Here it is thrown in after a roll, first over toms then with a snare added in.

An Example Piece

Example 3

With the pattern ending on an eighth note kick, it is very easy to throw in flams after it. This is demonstrated below.

An Example Piece

Example 4

The pattern can also be displaced so the kicks fall on the beat rather than an and count. A version of this is shown here.

An Example Piece

Example 5

This example also makes use of the idea of displacing the fill pattern.

An Example Piece


  1. Learn all examples, aim for a tempo of at least 120bpm.
  2. Create your own versions and variations on the fills given above.